ATLANTA – I’m humbled to be in my 10th year of public service. I served four years in the Georgia House of Representatives and am now returning for my seventh year in the State Senate. I’m honored you have entrusted me with your confidence, and I look forward to serving the needs of Forsyth County.
For the 2013- 2014 legislative term of the Georgia General Assembly, I was appointed chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee and serve as a member of the powerful Appropriations, Rules and Public Safety committees. It’s an honor to serve on these distinguished committees that will impact every consumer to the balancing of the state budget.
My top legislative priority continues to be a focus on economic development. We must concentrate on bringing new jobs to Georgia, which can be a multifaceted challenge. Attracting new jobs starts with providing a skilled workforce. This means Georgia must invest in our students’ education. Drawing more businesses here will also include tax incentives, like the energy used in manufacturing sales tax exemption. In the past couple of years, countless jobs have been created in Georgia as a result of new companies moving to our state, including the Caterpillar facility in Clarke and Oconee counties and the General Motors IT Innovation Center in Roswell.
I believe my conservative values of less government – a government that helps but does not hinder businesses and Georgia’s families – will bring prosperity to our state. We are already on the right path. Bureaucracy has been reduced by decreasing many state agencies overhead spending. For example, the Department of Transportation currently employs 4,300 people, but at its peak, it had more than 10,000. We’ve cut the budget while still providing needed services and retaining the state’s AAA bond rating, which allows the state to pay lower interest rates and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Tough decisions will be made to balance our budget while developing solutions to our depressed revenues. The Senate has already passed the hospital provider fee to bridge a nearly $700 million shortfall in Medicaid, a program to provide healthcare to low income families. While no one wants another fee, even Georgia Hospital Association, representing 170 hospitals, supported the legislation because it is the best way to maintain a balanced budget.
My legislative focus is on getting people back to work, creating new jobs and securing economic stability for Georgia. No stone will go unturned in this endeavor. I will study many different solutions, like bringing horse racing to Georgia which could bring construction jobs, farms and much needed tourism dollars. Bringing new jobs here is my No. 1 priority because Georgians need to know how they will pay for their children’s education and provide food for their families.